Iran's Rouhani says chemical weapons killed people in Syria

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani acknowledged for the first time chemical weapons had killed people in ally Syria

Iran's Rouhani says chemical weapons killed people in Syria

World Bulletin/News Desk

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday acknowledged for the first time chemical weapons had killed people in ally Syria and called for the international community to prevent their use.

Rouhani stopped short of saying who had used the arms - Tehran has previously accused Syrian rebels of being behind what it called suspected chemical attacks.

He also did not mention the international furore around Syrian opposition reports that forces loyal to the Damascus government killed as many as 1,000 civilians with poison gas in suburbs of Damascus on Wednesday.

"Many of the innocent people of Syria have been injured and martyred by chemical agents and this is unfortunate," recently elected Rouhani was quoted as saying by the ISNA news agency.

"We completely and strongly condemn the use of chemical weapons," he said, according to the agency.

"The Islamic Republic gives notice to the international community to use all its might to prevent the use of these weapons anywhere in the world, especially in Syria," he added, according to the Mehr news agency.

Syria's government denies using such weapons and Iran's foreign minister earlier this week said groups fighting Syrian president Bashar al-Assad in a two-year-old rebellion must have been behind what he then said was just a suspected attack.

Russia, another major ally in the Syrian government, has also blamed opposition forces.

Abbas Araqchi, Iran's foreign ministry spokesman, said Iran believed the rebels were behind the attack, and that Iran was in touch with Syria and other countries to find out what happened.

"There is evidence that this action was carried out by terrorist groups," ISNA quoted Araqchi as saying. "The concurrence of the use of these weapons with the presence of United Nations inspectors is itself an indication that there are hands at work to accuse the Syrian government of using these weapons and help the conflict and crisis to continue."

Iran warned the United States on Saturday not to get militarily involved in Syria.

"No international licence exists for military intervention in Syria," Araqchi was quoted as saying by ISNA. "We hope that White House officials are wise enough to not enter such a dangerous battle. Statements of provocation by American military officials or actions such as sending warships do not help solve the issue and will make the region's situation more dangerous."

Syria's uprising against four decades of Assad family rule has turned into a civil war that has killed more than 100,000 people.

Foreign powers have said chemical weapons could change the calculus in terms of intervention and are urging the Syrian government to allow a U.N. team of experts to examine the site of Wednesday's reported attacks.

The United States on Friday was repositioning naval forces in the Mediterranean to give President Barack Obama the option for an armed strike on Syria, although officials cautioned that Obama had made no decision on military action.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 24 Ağustos 2013, 15:55
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